Monday, September 10, 2012

Iquitos, Peru: San Juan Market, Part One (of 3)

For a perennially homeless man I am dead keen on amassing cool stuff for the house I never quite get around to buying and living in. If I had a house it would be filled top to bottom and including the yard and garage with stuff from all over the world that I have picked up because it's such great stuff, the excellent work of the minds of people who have a love of beauty.I love stuff. It's a problem for me in that my backpack is limited in space, and the post costs more for shipping than I would likely pay for what I would like to have. So I look at things, take some photos, and dream of that long away day when I open the door of my home and gaze in wonder and contentment at how nicely I live in such a pretty place. Till then, it's window shopping for this guy. Join me as I wander in the market on the outskirts of Iquitos, Peru.

I have any number of tin boxes on shelves overflowing with books, and the tins are filled with old coins that migrated to the bottom of my pack as I moved from one place to the next, the coins too worthless to fish out and cash in as I left. So they become memories of long-ago visits to far way lands. I have more coins now, and I would be very happy to put them into lovely wooden bowls from the Peruvian Amazon. Or, I might leave the bowls empty and just gaze at the beauty of them.

I would if I could have more than one, of course, more than two, and probably as many as a minimum of four, more than a set, if not quite a collection, enough to create a collection, to give a sense of context, to create a depth of wooden bowls one could liken to the other, a way of seeing a pattern of wooden bowl beauty. As is, I splurged at the Belen Market and bought a smallish bowl I have no room for anywhere in my life at this time. I fear I might go so far as to buy other, bigger, heavier, lovelier bowls at the San Juan Market and then figure out what to do with them later.

These bowls do represent the work of logging in the Amazon Rain Forest, which as we are all aware is the Lungs of the Earth. If one cuts down a tree in the Amazon, then the planet will suffocate because of science stuff and stuff. But I don't care. I am a fascist. I love these beautiful bowls, and choke on that, hippie girls in California, I just might buy some.

Although I am a huge supporter of almost all things plastic, that is due to my love of democracy: In plastic one might, in spite of poverty beyond bearing, own a replica of the Throne of the Sun King. Almost everything is available to almost everyone if one is willing to settle for such in plastic. I would prefer, of course, a wooden bowl to a plastic one.

To have and to have not, bowls of grace.

I would prefer many wooden bowls, big and lovely, to one wooden  bowl. But life allows for so much less sometimes. I have a little bowl, and it is a joy. A big joy.

Here´s a bit about: ´´wooden bowls and carvings made from bloodwood, a hard wood with a beautiful dark red glow. Bloodwood (Brosimum rubescens) [palo sangre] is a member of the fig family, and is relatively common in the Peruvian Amazon.´´

I chatted with a fellow who swings his machete over and over a block of wood till he has at last the rough outline of his latest work, at which time his box of fine tools comes out to turn a rough block into a work of art, perhaps a dolphin in wood, perhaps a naked white man lurking in the back of his shop. The dolphin is more to my liking...

But the carver can do it all-- if one asks.

The painters, too, can do it all, rendering into the now the snakes and such of the immediate environment, making all things safe and beautiful and personal.

The dangerous and powerful anaconda can rest eternally on ones wall without ever being a threat to world order, a matter instead of peace with the world of snakes and harm. Snakes made lovely for a man at home.

One seen snake can provide an artist with a life time of inspiration that he can render real for the masses, giving the image of a long ago snake in a far away jungle a cosmic twist to express a longing and a positive statement of hope of unity with the earth and its powers and dangerous elements. All in paint and safety.

In the security of ones home, at ones leisure, alone to contemplate ones success in the world, one might look up at ones walls and see colour beyond imagination of ones own to find oneself surrounded by jungle and beauty right here, right now. Thanks to a man who paints it for the likes of those of us who admire it.

One might go so far as to mount a moment of an image of Belen Market in ones home, likely a home so different from the poverty of the original that there is simply no reasonable comparison to make. Sentimental, si, pero, it is beautiful and moreso in vivid colour, sin stench and buzzards. Art takes away the ugly that is in the beauty. 

I'd fill my place with beautiful bowls and hang a painting of the poverty of Belen somewhere to see with ease.

I might go so far as to hang a painting of the streets of the city in their colourful chaos, rendered van Gogh for the moment that lasts in mind and on canvas for all to admire.

Had I a house so large as my imagination, I might buy a couple of drums to summon all of my friends for a visit to look at and like my happy home.

Bang, bang, bang. Boom, boom, boom. My happy home, somewhere over that Amazonian rainbow.

A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:

And here are some reviews and comments on said book:

1 comment:

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